Work Avoidance in Middle School: Teachers' Perspectives
Sloan, Meridith Ann
Wentzel, Kathryn R
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This study investigated the beliefs about work avoidance of six middle school teachers from a diverse set of schools. Teachers were individually interviewed. Using a Grounded Theory approach, the interview transcripts were coded and analyzed. The teachers commonly characterized students who avoid work as lacking effort or actively avoiding work, expressing a broad range of emotions (e.g., anger, embarrassment, and negative affect) and having little or incompetent social interactions with peers and adults. The teachers reported several reasons why students avoid work including task/workload characteristics, motivational traits, peers, home and school/teacher. These findings suggest that work avoidance may have been previously oversimplified and the construct may include a wider variety of student characteristics and reasons for the behaviors.